Coronavirus disease 2019 among pregnant Chinese women: Case series data on the safety of vaginal birth and breastfeeding

Yanting Wu, Chen Liu, Lan Dong, Chenjie Zhang, Yang Chen, Jun Liu, Chen Zhang, Chenchi Duan, Hanqiu Zhang, Ben W. Mol, Cindy Lee Dennis, Tailang Yin, Jing Yang, Hefeng Huang

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136 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess whether vaginal secretions and breast milk of COVID-19 patients contain SARS-CoV-2 virus. DESIGN: Single center cohort study. SETTING: Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei province, China. POPULATION OR SAMPLE: We studied 13 COVID-19 infected pregnant women diagnosed between January 31 and March 9, 2020. METHODS: We collected clinical data, vaginal secretions and stool specimens, breast milk from COVID-19 infected women during different stages of pregnancy and neonatal throat, anal swabs. MAIN OUTCOME(S) AND MEASURE(S): We assessed viral presence in different biosamples. RESULTS: Of the 13 women with COVID-19, 5 were in their first trimester, 3 in their second trimester, and 5 in their third trimester. Of the 5 women during their third trimester who gave birth, all delivered live newborns. Among these 5 deliveries, the primary adverse perinatal outcomes included premature delivery (n = 2) and neonatal pneumonia (n = 2). One of 9 stool samples was positive; and all 13 vaginal secretion samples, and 5 throat swabs and 4 anal swabs collected from newborns were negative for the novel coronavirus. However, 1 of 3 samples of breast milk was positive by viral nucleic acid testing. CONCLUSIONS: In this case series of 13 pregnant women with COVID-19, we observed negative viral test results in vaginal secretion specimens, suggesting that a vaginal delivery may be a safe delivery option. However, additional research is urgently needed to examine breast milk and the potential risk for viral contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1115
Number of pages7
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • breast milk
  • COVID-19
  • vaginal secretions

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